ARE WE WARNED ABOUT FALSE TEACHERS AND FALSE TEACHING IN THE LAST DAYS?
John in his epistles says that by entertaining false teachers, one identifies himself with their errors. Many false teachers attempted at that time to infiltrate the church, undermine the church, and receive much from the church.
Christians are taught to be hospitable, but there is also a duty to the truth. We must not give aid to enemies of the gospel, to those who would take advantage of the hospitality of the churches.
The false teachers were "deceivers". This word is "planos" and refers to seducers... those who would seek to get others into their false teachings. These are the same set of people talked about in I John, the gnostics. They denied the bodily, fleshly resurrection of the Lord, and denied His incarnation. They were imitating the apostles ministry, but their message was perverted and heretical. They went from church to church, and tried to spread their false doctrines.
To walk in the commandments of the Lord is showing Him love. If we walk with those who disobey these same commandments, and give them aid and support in their ministry... we are not showing love to the Lord. We cannot give aid and comfort to the enemies of the truth, we are hurting the Lord we say we love.
John goes so far as to say that if we bid them "God speed", we become a partaker of their evil deeds.
II John 10-11
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive them not into your house, neither bid him God speed; For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
The "truth is one of John's favorite subjects. The word "truth" is found five times in verses 1-4. John wants the truth of the gospel, the revelation of God through Christ, as revealed now through the Spirit of Truth, to be in all the saints. Truth is vital to Christianity. Jesus said that those who worship God must do it "in Spirit and in truth." We need a fresh awareness of truth. John spends much time in His gospel trying to reveal the message of truth that Jesus taught the disciples. These false teachers were a threat to the truth which John had taught for many years.He was upset, disturbed, and anxious to straighten out this lady and her church.
Loving one another is a commandment, and many a congregation has used this commandment to validate their toleration of hypocrites, false teachers, and those who abuse others in the congregation. To tolerate such people in our congregations, and use the need to "love one another" as the excuse for such toleration, is error. John seeks to show that fact here.
Some claim to be Christian, and yet they are not. They undo the teachings of the Word, of true saints, and especially of John the apostle. John had spent his ministry years building a body of believers who knew the truth, knew how to have a relationship with the Lord. Now the gnostic error was trying to undermine the true gospel.
Should he condone this lady and her congregation as they gave aid and comfort to those who would seek to harm his life's message?
II John 8
"Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, that we receive a full reward."
If the good work that John had done were un-done, and John did not try to stop these "invalidators"... he would lose part of his reward. We need to likewise realize that if we do not seek to keep saved those converts we have led to the Lord, and if we do not try to stop the false doctrines of the false prophets of the last days, we will also lose some of our reward.
John tells us that these false teachers were not of God. They were evil, though they called themselves "prophets", "apostles" and "teachers" of the faith.
II John 9
"Whoso transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God."
These deceivers had backslidden, and they no longer had Jesus or the Father in their hearts. You cannot reject Jesus without losing also the Father.
I John 2:23
"Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father."
The false teachers will seek you out... for John says "if there come any unto you." We had need to know the truth, and to find out if those we support are truly spreading the truth. We are not always careful enough in determining if those ministries which we help, support, or send people to such, are truly doing the work of the Lord, and preaching His unadulterated gospel.
We are told not to fellowship with:
workers of iniquity
(Psalms 6:8, 26:5)
(Proverbs 9:6, 14:17)
excommunicated church members
those causing divisions
(I Timothy 6:3-5, II John 10-11)
(II Thessalonians 3:6)
(II Corinthians 6:14)
Yet, with all these verses telling us not to fellowship with certain false teachers and hypocrites, we find congregation after congregation that has never had such teaching. Too often the leadership does not want to lose a crowd, an offering, or offend the power grabbing, but unsaved, leadership of the church.
We cannot call ourselves a New Testament church, if we allow false doctrines to remain in congregations that the early church never would allow. We cannot continue to tolerate false teachers, false doctrines, and false professions of faith.
John tells the readers of the message to know that he had much more to tell them, but that it would wait until he could come to them. Yet, this message that he writes in this epistle, is so important, that he must write it. This message could not wait. It cannot wait now either. The revival church needs to face the fact of the false teachers, false teachings, and false professions that are ruining the message and testimony of the church. We need to face it now, without delay.
There are many false teachers, and false prophets in these last days. We can deal with them, as the Scriptures have taught us. They often have the message that the church wants to hear. Notice what Jeremiah said about them:
"the prophet...dealt falsely... saying 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."
These "false prophets" were actually "prophets." They had felt called by God to a ministry of prophetic teaching and work. This was not an enviable job, and was not a well paid job. It required much work, and usually little reward. However, these religious leaders of that day, had somehow strayed from hearing from God Himself. Their message was designed to "please the people", and had come from the human spirit of the "prophet", or from the evil spirits of deception.
God is very angry at false prophets, because they stumble many. Their messages are contrary to God's messages, and God's messages lead people back to Him, and to repentance and forgiveness. The false prophet leads people away from the opportunity to repent.
"But ye are departed out of the way, ye have caused many to stumble."
These false teachers claim to be speaking for the Lord, and claim to be true prophets. They do not carry name tags to identify themselves as false prophets.
"...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
The Greek word for "word" in the above verse is "rhema". This is not "logos" which can be the normal spoken or written word. This word, rhema, refers to a word spoken as though God had spoken it. It is the word spoken for God in a prophecy, message in tongues, interpretation, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, etc...
Thus, if one claims to be speaking a "word" from God, and it is an "idle" word... (idle = Greek -argos = useless, barren), then that person will have to answer for that rhema before God.
Unfortunately, many in the Christian circles of today have spoken "idle words". Many have attacked the true prophecies, and clung to the false prophecies. The excuses are many. Yet, the Scripture is clear.
False prophets are closely watched by the people, as are the true prophets. The false, sinful prophets will carefully try to hide, or excuse their sins. They try to justify them. They may even try to call sin - good, and good - sin. Yet, we need to stay in the Word of God, and go by the Scriptures in determining what is right, and what is wrong.
We must be careful in these last days to which prophets we listen.
I Thessalonians 5:21
"Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good."
II Thessalonians 2:1-3
"...be not soon shaken in your mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit or by word... Let no man deceive you..."
I John 4:1-3
"believe not every spirit... try the spirits whether they are of God."
Peter talks of how the false prophets had lost the relationship that they once had and are now worse off than if they had never been saved.
II Peter 2:20-22
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them, than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, 'The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
Notice, that it is the turning from the "holy commandment" (singular, not plural) that is referred to here as a trait of the false prophets. The one commandment that is given us is to LOVE. John emphasized the love of God and the love of the brethren that was to be the main trademark of true children of God. The loss of this LOVE will change a true prophet into a false prophet. The love of a true prophet for His God, and for God's people will drive the true prophet on with an inner compulsion and desire to keep the message truly to be God's. The judgment part will be so distasteful to the prophet of love, that if it were not for an inner compulsion, the prophet would cease his speaking.
When a prophet loses that love for God, and for mankind... the messages get distorted. Sometimes the cares of life, the putting of self on the throne (instead of God), and the desire for popularity will preempt the LOVE for God and mankind. Through this seemingly simple mistake, one soon is a false prophet.
Blinded to the truth, the false prophet:
will excuse or become one who easily perpetrates spiritual abuse...
will not realize their sin, for God's voice is not being heard...
will only search for portions of the Scriptures (when they read the Scripture, [which will become less and less]) which will substantiate their doctrines.
will critically oppose the true message...
will vehemently deny the need of their loved ones and relatives to need repentance...
will push out of the church anyone who speaks for God, and defends the victims of the spiritual abuse...
Beware such false prophets. Pray for them to see their sin, and to repent before the time of judgment. Do not take part in their sins, by giving aid, comfort, or encouragement to such false prophets.